The Twain Shall Meet

The Twain Shall Meet by Deidre Dalton is Book #3 in the Collective Obsessions Saga.


An innocent meeting as children sparks a fateful yet perilous liaison between Shannon Larkin and Mike Sullivan. Will their romance follow the same tragic path forged by their mutual ancestors Colm and Molly?

From Chapter Nine

November 1970

Larkin City, Maine


SCOTT PAGE WAS NOT normally an impatient man, but today he was exhausted and irritable. After spending a couple of days in New York City with a rather wild friend, he finally boarded his scheduled flight to Larkin City, Maine. The long hours of work, flying and partying were finally catching up to him. After spending several months in Ireland, working seven days a week, he was looking forward to a slower pace.

Stretching his long legs in front of him, Scott relaxed in a rear seat of the twin-engine airplane headed for Larkin City. Closing his eyes, he leaned back against the head rest. The flight to Larkin City only took an hour, so he had time for a catnap.

Scott was in his early thirties, a considerably handsome man in dark fashion. At times, he had the impression people found him threatening. He assumed it was because he did wear a scowl most of the time, which was just his nature. His finely chiseled features were heightened by olive-tinted skin and high cheekbones. His smile was devastatingly brilliant when he chose to shine it on someone, which was rare.

He possessed a master's degree in geophysics from Bangor University. For several years he worked for a mining company in New York, where he met Brian Larkin in 1969. Brian offered Scott a job the following year in May, with a healthy salary and benefits. Scott accepted the job, and was on his way to Ireland a month later to supervise the Larkin Mines survey near Dublin. Scott enjoyed the work in Ireland immensely, keeping in constant contact with Brian by telephone. After a short period, Scott came to genuinely like and respect his employer. Although rather aloof, Brian was a fair and honest man in any situation and did not play favorites.

Scott fastened his seatbelt as the airplane took off. He was looking forward to spending the next few weeks in Larkin City. Brian told Scott he could stay at the family estate until he returned to Ireland in January. The thought warmed Scott. Having no family of his own to speak of, he had almost forgotten what it was like to celebrate momentous occasions with loved ones.

Raised an only child in Bangor, Scott enjoyed singular attention from his parents for most of his young life. His father, James Page, was an English professor at Bangor University. His mother, Italian-born Maria Theresa, was a music teacher. The Page family lived in a modest suburban area of Bangor, where Scott remembered his childhood as being settled and happy.

Shortly after his sixteenth birthday, Scott's parents were tragically killed in an auto accident. They were driving home after having dinner at a nearby restaurant when they collided with a transport truck. Scott was left shattered and alone. His only living relative was his father's spinster sister, Elaine, who took him in following the accident. Scott began taking odd jobs to save money for college. Once he arrived at Bangor University as a student, he worked nights at a gas station to continue supporting himself. The feeling of making a life for himself instilled a great deal of confidence in Scott.

In his own way, he was outspoken and blunt. It often earned him the reputation of being rough and unapproachable. In reality, he was a sensitive man who hid his feelings well. He enjoyed the bachelor life, but often felt empty inside. He could not fathom the reason why. It was as if he was searching for something - or someone - but he did not know what or who yet.

Scott frowned as the airplane began its descent into Larkin City. The flight was twenty minutes early. He wondered idly who would meet him at the airport. Brian, he hoped. Suddenly, Scott's frown deepened. Brian informed him that his daughter, Shannon, would also be going to Ireland in January, supposedly to run the computer for data interpretation. Scott had seen a photograph of the girl when Brian came to Ireland earlier that month, where he placed a picture of Shannon on his desk in the office in Dublin. She was very young, and probably a spoiled little brat who had no idea what she was doing. The idea of working with Brian’s daughter displeased Scott. He felt it would be awkward at best, knowing he would have to tolerate the glaring nepotism in order to keep the peace. Although he hadn't met Shannon, he assumed the girl was more than likely immature and inexperienced in the mining business.

Scott sighed as the airplane landed. He would make the best of it, he supposed. What else could he do? He would accept the situation and work hard as he had always done. 

* * *

SHANNON WAS DISTRACTED AS she drove to Larkin City Airport that afternoon. Her thoughts were revolving around her upcoming trip to Ireland. Her excitement was boundless, as usual, but her emotions were always held in check when, all of a sudden, she would think of Mike Sullivan or David Bonham. Would it never stop, she wondered? It seemed she could go through the motions of daily life for only a few hours before the horror came back to her again. Yet she knew it was getting better. Two weeks ago she thought of nothing else.

Shannon slowed her Gran Torino as she approached the airport. The majority of flights coming in were usually charter planes, or twin-engines from Bangor or New York City. The airport building was painted a powder blue, surrounded by neatly-clipped foliage. As Shannon pulled into a parking stall, she glanced at her wristwatch.

It was four-thirty on the button. She hurried toward the terminal, making a striking picture despite her simple clothes. She wore white slacks and a cream-colored blouse, her long hair shiny and loose. She tried to recall the description her father gave her for Scott Page. She was supposed to look for someone who was tall and slender, with black hair that was rather longish. Brian laughingly told Shannon that Page usually wore a scowl on his face. "He's not a grouch or anything, the scowl is just his way. He can be a bit rough at times, but once you get to know him you’ll realize he’s a good man."

Shannon smiled as she remembered her father's description. He was trying to create a favorable impression without outright lying, anxious she start out on the right foot with Page since they would be working together in Ireland. For the first time, Shannon wondered what Page was really like. She hoped they were compatible. It would be awkward if they were not.

Flight 368 had arrived at Gate 4 early, Shannon learned from the information desk, twenty minutes ago. She hurried along the polished floor of the terminal, down a short hallway, turning a corner that brought her to the right side of Gate 4.

Looking around anxiously, she noticed almost everyone was gone. An older woman was seated in the waiting area, reading a newspaper. Glancing to the other side of the room, Shannon frowned as she saw it was empty. Sighing, she walked up to the check-in desk.

"Excuse me," she asked the bespectacled middle-aged man behind the desk. "I understand Flight 368 from New York City arrived early. I was supposed to meet a man named Scott Page. Do you know if he arrived with the flight?"

The man smiled. "Let me check, miss," he said politely. He picked up a clipboard and glanced at it quickly. He looked back at her. "According to my schedule, he arrived with the flight. He should be in the terminal somewhere. Would you like me to page him?"

Shannon shook her head. "No. I'll go the luggage area. Maybe he went there." Smiling, she said to the man: "Thank you for your help."

She turned toward the hallway again. Suddenly she stopped short, spying a man across the hallway with several suitcases at his feet. He was leaning against one of the pay phones. She glanced at his face. He was staring at her, expressionless. She noticed his hair was as black as her own, falling to his collar. Short, black sideburns went down the forefront of his ears. His eyes were wide-set and sleepy-looking. His nose was slim, slightly flaring at the nostrils, and his mouth was formed in a frown, the full lower lip and thinner upper lip curled unhappily. He looked as if he needed a shave. He wore a light blue jacket that was zipped up part way, the collar flipped up, touching the base of his jaw. He also had on faded blue jeans and white sneakers. Shannon found herself admiring his unusual good looks, even though his scowl was rather intimidating.

She took a step toward him, and then hesitated. He was still staring at her, neither hostile nor friendly. Chiding herself, she walked over to him.

"Are you Scott Page, by any chance?" Shannon asked hopefully, while she cursed herself silently, recognizing the slight tremor in her voice.

He straightened himself up, stepping away from the payphone, his eyes still on her. When his voice came, she was surprised to hear a strongly firm and deep quality she had not expected. She assumed he would growl at her by the look on his face.

"I’m Scott Page," he answered her. "And you must be Shannon Larkin."

At her startled look, he was quick to explain. "Your father had a picture of you in Ireland. He kept it on his desk, along with one of your brother. I recognized you from that."

"Oh," she laughed nervously. "Well, yes, I’m Shannon. I'm sorry I've kept you waiting. I didn't realize the flight was early."

"That's okay," he said easily, reaching down to pick up his luggage. "I went ahead and retrieved my bags."

"Can I help with your suitcases?" she asked as they started walking down the hallway.

"I can manage, thanks."

She glanced sideways at him. He had to be at least six foot three inches in height. Compared to her small height of five foot three, he seemed to tower above her. He walked easily with the bags, appearing to be in good physical condition. He was a little on the thin side, but well proportioned otherwise. He looked straight ahead, not saying anything unless she spoke first.

After he deposited his luggage in the trunk of Shannon's car, she slipped behind the wheel of the vehicle. Scott got into the passenger side, still silent. As she pulled out of the airport parking lot, she asked him: "Do you mind if I smoke?"

"Go ahead. I was about to ask you the same thing."

As she drove, Shannon attempted to start a conversation with Scott.

"Do you plan to stay with us until we go to Ireland in January?"

"Probably," he answered casually. "But I might spend Christmas with some friends in New York City."

"So you'll be working at my father's office in Larkin City until then?"

He nodded. "Yes. I have a lot of data to go over with Brian."

Shannon turned into the one-mile drive that led to the mansion. "I think you'll like it here," she said, trying to sound cheerful. "You'll have plenty of privacy at the house. My mother fixed up a room for you on the fourth floor. Breakfast is from seven to nine o'clock. To save on time and dishes, a buffet is set up in the dining room and kept warm." She paused. "Am I boring you?"

He smiled slightly. "No. Please continue."

"If you’re at the mansion during lunchtime, our cook Mae serves a meal at one o'clock. At four-thirty in the afternoon my great-aunt and my mother have tea in the drawing room, and you're welcome to join them if you're around. At six-thirty we gather again in the drawing room, this time for drinks, and we eat dinner at seven-thirty in the dining room."

Scott stubbed his cigarette in the ashtray. "Are there any clubs or bars in Larkin City?"

"There are two," she answered. "One is called the Coven Lounge, which is owned by the family. My cousin Kevin runs the place on weekends. There is also a bar at the other end of town. It's just a beer hall and kind of shabby, but it can be great fun, too."

He glanced at her. "Aren't you too young to go into those places?"

She blushed. "I'm only nineteen, but Kevin lets me into the Coven once in awhile." She looked back at him. "How old are you?"

"Thirty three," he replied.

Her eyes widened. "You don't look thirty three. I took you for twenty five at the most."

Scott said nothing, so she continued to drive in silence. Presently, she pulled in front of the mansion. He emerged from the car immediately and retrieved his luggage. Puzzled by his sudden abrupt manner, Shannon said to him: "Go ahead inside. I have to park the car."

He nodded, not looking at her. "Thanks," he said, and started walking toward the front doors of the mansion.

After Shannon parked her car in the garage, she entered the house through the kitchen. Her mother and Aunt Denise were sitting at the table, playing a card game. Mae Jensen stood by the stove, dropping yams into a pot full of boiling water.

Mary glanced up as Shannon shut the door behind her. "Did you find Scott Page?" she asked.

Shannon rolled her eyes. "Oh, yes indeed. I let him off at the front. What a strange man he is."

"What do you mean?"

"He hardly says a word unless you talk to him first," Shannon replied as she poured herself a cup of coffee. "It was almost as if he couldn't wait to get away from me."

"Maybe he is shy around new people," Mary suggested.

"Huh," Shannon snorted, leaning against the counter in front of the sink. "He's thirty-three years old. I thought people got over shyness at that age."

Denise threw back her head and laughed. "What would you know about shyness coming from this family?"

"I'm shy in my own way," Shannon defended herself. "But as I get older, I become less shy." She shrugged. "Oh, well. It's no big deal, I guess." She set her coffee cup on the counter. "I'll go and see if he made it inside okay. Then I'm going to change for dinner."

When Shannon reached the foyer of the house, she noticed Scott's luggage by the front doors. Hearing voices in the drawing room, she walked toward the door and peered inside.

Brian and Scott were sitting on the couch facing the fireplace, each with a drink in their hand. They were laughing and talking together with familiar ease. Shannon frowned. How quickly Scott changed in demeanor. Sullen and stiff in her presence, now he seemed relaxed and jovial. Maybe her mother was right. He must be uneasy around strangers.

As if sensing her presence, Brian looked toward the door. He waved his daughter over. "Come on, kiddo. Pour yourself a glass of wine and join us."

She started to protest. "Thanks, but I have some things I need to do."

"Nonsense," her father insisted. "You can spare a few minutes. Please come in."

Refusing to look at Scott, she walked to the sideboard and poured herself a glass of wine. Turning around, she went to the chair facing the couch. She finally looked up and was distressed to discover Scott staring at her, his eyes unreadable.

Blushing slightly, she sat down and said: "I think it's a bit early to start happy hour."

Brian made a face. "It's a holiday, Shan. Lighten up. I’m making an exception now, and I'll do the same at Christmas." He set his glass down. "Thank you for picking up Scott."

She smiled wanly. "It was nothing," she said casually. "I had nothing else to do this afternoon." Why was she making herself sound so flippant, she wondered?  Since she entered the room, Scott had fallen silent, the laughter gone from his face. What was this guy's problem? And why did he keep staring at her?

Brian was talking again. "I think it's a good idea that Scott spends some time with us. Especially at the office with you, Shan, since you’ll be working together in Dublin. I think its better you both find out now if you can get along, rather than cross horns in Ireland."

Scott finally spoke up. "I'm sure we'll get along," he said quietly, but firmly. "I foresee no problems."

"Good," Brian said good-naturedly, picking up his drink again. He looked at Scott. "I know the thought has probably crossed your mind that my daughter is a bit young, but she has more than proven her worth to me. She knows the computer like the back of her hand and she’s not afraid of hard work. In fact," he grinned. "She works too much. She hardly ever takes time for herself or goes on dates."

"Oh really," Shannon snapped, embarrassed. "We don't need to discuss that in front of Mr. Page." Feeling foolish, she rose from her chair. "I have some things to do before dinner."

To her surprise, Scott also rose. "Can you show me to my room?" he asked politely, still staring at her.

"I’d be glad to show you to your room," she replied, refusing to meet his eyes. "It's on my way."

Brian's eyes flickered over his daughter and Scott with concern. Scott seemed to become uneasy and non-talkative when Shannon entered the room. Shannon, too, seemed uncomfortable around Scott. For a fleeting moment, Brian wondered if he’d made a mistake by telling his daughter she could go to Ireland. Then he brushed the thought aside. He knew Scott could be a bit crude and rough at times, but he was a good, honest man. Shannon was stubborn and hot tempered, but she was also very honest and a good girl at heart. Brian felt things would work themselves out in the end.

Scott leaned over and shook Brian's hand. "Thank you for everything, sir," he said sincerely. "I’ll see you again at dinner."

"At happy hour, I hope," Brian corrected, smiling. "If you care to join us, cocktails are served at six-thirty. Officially, that is."

"I'll be here. Thank you again."

Scott followed Shannon into the foyer and picked up his luggage by the front doors. Wordless, they climbed the many stairs and hallways to the fourth floor. She stopped at a door that was between her bedroom and Liam's. She entered and stepped aside to allow Scott to pass by with his bags.

He set his luggage on the floor and turned to look at Shannon. For the first time she noticed he had bright, hazel eyes. Like the eyes of a cat. The sleepy look he possessed seemed to be a natural one. Aware they had been observing one another longer than usual, she cleared her throat.

"You have your own bathroom," she said stiffly, turning away from him. "There are extra blankets and clean sheets in the closet. You'll most likely need the blankets because we don't have central heating on the upper floors. We don't have any maids, so you’re responsible for cleaning up after yourself and doing your own laundry. There are laundry rooms in the basement, and on each floor." She paused. "If you run out of wood for your fireplace, tell my brother Sean. He'll have some extra wood sent up to your room if you need it."

"Thank you," he said quietly, his eyes still on her in a peculiar fashion.

It was on the tip of Shannon's tongue to ask him why he was staring at her so intently, but she refrained. Instead, she said coolly: "Enjoy your stay." She moved toward the door and then stopped. "I'll see you later," she said, and then left, shutting the door behind her.

           Shannon continued on to her own room. There was something odd about Scott Page. He made her uncomfortable. Shrugging her shoulders, she decided to forget about him and enjoy the rest of the evening with her family.


THE TWAIN SHALL MEET ©2012-16 Deidre Dalton. All rights reserved.

"The Twain Shall Meet" may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the author. "The Twain Shall Meet" is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.